July 11, 1896
Sarah Waters

The days of studying with Mr. Stone have passed far too quickly. I expected to spend the whole of my summer under his tutelage, but today was the last. Despite having missed nearly two months worth of lessons, I have completed them in a mere two weeks. Strangely, I feel I have learned nothing or at least nothing of importance.

There are so many things I do not know. I wonder if college will douse the fire within me to learn more. I think the knowledge I seek most does not reside in books or libraries but in the hearts, minds, and souls of people. I do look forward to attending college but my expectations remain low. Perhaps I will not be disappointed.

I collected my school books into a neat stack and began tying them together for travel.

“You may keep them.” Mr. Stone said, indicating the books.

I paused from my task.

“Thank you. I have nothing to give you in return.” I said.

“You have given more than you know. Besides, I think those book might be of use to you someday.”

“I will treasure them, but I think they have taught me all they can.”

“You may find they have surprise or two left within them, but it is no matter. They are yours to keep.”

I smiled.

“Thank you, not just for these, but for everything.”

“You are very welcome. If I can ever be of future service, you know where to find me.”

“I will walk with you to the station.” I said.

“Take your things up to your room first. I will not have in trouble on my account.”

I blushed at the truth of his words.

“Yes, sir. I shall be down shortly.” I said.

It hardly took a minute to carry my books up the stairs to my room. When I came back down, he was all ready gone. I stepped out the front door and looked for him on the street but he was gone from sight. I could have ran to the station, but I did not. He undoubtedly had his reasons for not wanting me to come and after all he has done for me it would rude to fail to respect his wishes. He could have told me, but I would have asked questions and most likely did not want to answer them.

I returned inside to hear a commotion coming from the top of the stairs.

“Mr. Stone?” I called out.

The noise stopped for a moment and then I heard a door slam shut. It sounded as though it was mine. I ran up the stairs.

“Mr. Stone?” I called as I went.

There was no response. I reached the door to my room and it was closed. I had left it open. My hand trembled slightly as I reached for the knob and opened the door. I looked from side to side in the small room. It was unoccupied except for me. The books I had neatly tied together were lying, scattered on the floor. I had not left them there.

The front door downstairs slammed closed. I ran back down the stairs and nearly knocked Sam off the stairs. He had just come home.

“Whoa! What is the hurry?” He said as we collided.

“I thought it was Mr. Stone leaving.”

“I did not see anyone downstairs.”

“I thought he left before while I was up in my room because when I came down he was gone. I went outside to see if I could catch up with him but he was nowhere in sight. When I came back in I thought I heard someone up in my room and when I got there the books he left me were scattered on the floor and then I heard you come in so I thought maybe you were him.”

“Slow down, Sarah. What books are these?”

“Come on, I’ll show you. Mr. Stone gave me the school books.”

We walked up the stairs to my room. I pointed Sam into the room toward where the books had laid on the floor. He walked into the room and then spun around to face me.

“Where are they?” He asked.

I walked into the room. The books were gone as though they had never been. I quickly looked under the bed and found nothing.

“They’re gone.” I said.

“Maybe we should check with Deborah and mother.” Sam said.

“They aren’t here.”

“We can call the sheriff in. Let’s go downstairs.”

“No, they were only books, maybe Mr. Stone changed his mind.”

“This seems very odd.”

“I know. Don’t worry about it, I’m sure it is nothing.” I said.

“All right, if you are sure?”

“Yes, I am sure. Sorry, Sam I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You have not. You have nothing to be sorry about, I am here for you, whatever you need. You know that, right?”

“I know, Sam. Thank you.”

I gave him a hug and he left me alone. I searched the whole room for the books, but they were gone along with two others I had been reading. Thankfully, whomever the thief was, he did not take my journal.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, it's all becoming very mysterious, but interesting.
Warm hugs,